Editor:

This is in response to Pamela Lane of Santa Monica living in a rent-controlled apartment (“More than just dust,” Letters to the Editor, Jan. 4). Housekeeper? Pet sitter? Boyfriend with free access? Roommate renting a room with a master bath? In an apartment complex four blocks from the beach where the action is? Get real! Sounds like this woman can either afford fair market rents, or is living beyond her means on someone else’s hard-earned risk — and playing sub-landlord to her own tenant in the room with a master bath.

Isn’t Ms. Lane collecting the gravy while someone else updates the plumbing, replaces the locks, maintains the laundry room, the security of the building, the roof, the grounds maintenance, the garage? A room with a master bath in Santa Monica near the beach must yield Ms. Lane at least $1,500 a month. How sweet is the Earth! Is Ms. Lane declaring that income to the Internal Revenue Service? And, how much is Ms. Lane’s rent, anyway? Oh, and when she rents for long enough in a rent-controlled apartment (milking someone else’s cache) will she seek to buy a property on what she has saved (as many other former renters in rent-controlled apartments have done)?

Meanwhile, Ms. Lane wants selective enforcement of old leases (i.e. access to the building — keys and access codes), but she also wants to keep her illegal pets and the illegal roomer, and the boyfriend who might be living with her as well and who is not on the lease. Is Ms. Lane also receiving free, or greatly subsidized legal help (largely sourced from property taxes)?

I’d like some of that sweet Earth, too. Someone, or some great good force to repair the plumbing, change the locks, maintain the grounds, pay the property taxes, property insurance, and the mortgage, etc., while all I have to do is arrange for the pet sitter, the housekeeper, collect on the spare room, and fill the fridge for the boyfriend.

Isn’t it time Santa Monica got “updated” and voted out control? Control has been with us for three decades, and look at the result: Goodbye neighborhood! High-rises going up daily near the beach, on Pico, throughout our neighborhoods, the trailer park decimated, the elementary school torn down in favor of grotesque dense housing a few stories higher, the über-tiny mass-dwelling units stories high with sky-high rents, and city control departments actively seeking renters from outside Santa Monica in order to keep the control departments staffed, officed, salaried with benefits and pensions!

But here are the new rules — no roommates! How marvelous! City departments of control to regulate who lives where and with whom for how much! And if the how much declines or exceeds the rules, the occupant must move!

Quoting Margaret Thatcher from a recent article in the L.A. Times, socialism only works so long as you have someone else’s money to spend. Clearly, Ms. Lane has been busy spending “someone else’s money.”

 

Joan Baheri

Santa Monica